Mar 23, 2009

Paavakka Puli Kulambu(Bitter Gourd Tamarind Curry)

I love bitter gourd and sundaikai (turkey berry) kulambu. This is my mom’s recipe. This is one of my favorite recipes. Bitter gourd has excellent medicinal values. It is very low in calorie and more in nutrients. It is specifically used for diabetes to lower the blood sugar level. Bitter gourd leaves juice used for piles treatment. Good source of calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. Hence I make sure I use this great vegetable at least twice in a month.

Other names: Karela (Hindi), kaakarakaaya (Telugu)

Bitter Gourd


Bitter gourd sliced – 2 medium
Coconut oil/Butter – 1 Tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
Tamarind pulp (concentrated) – ½ tbsp
Sugar – 1½ tsp
Salt *

For Paste:

Rice – 1 ½ Tbsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Black Pepper corns- ½ tsp
Dried Red chili – 2 *
Garlic – 4
Curry leaves – 2 strings
Grated Coconut fresh/frozen – 4 Tbsp


Heat the coconut oil/butter in heavy bottom pan. Pan fry the sliced bitter gourd by flipping the sides until both sides turn golden brown. Mean while make the tamarind water by adding 1 ½ cup water into the tamarind pulp. Once the bitter gourd is done add the tamarind water, salt, turmeric powder and sugar. Cover the pan and let it cook until the bitter gourd is 90% cooked (not mushy but soft enough so that you can cut the slice with your finger). Mean while roast ingredients (mentioned as “for paste”) and blend it to make a fine paste with water as less as possible so not making it into a syrup.

Once the bitter gourd is cooked completely add the paste and let it cook for 2 min in high heat. If the kulambu is too thick add some water and let it boil for a minute. It can be served with rice or idly.



  1. wow! 1st time here u have awonderful blog ..i just love this curry will try ur version soon
    Thanks for visitng and thanks soo much for comment ...keep visiting

  2. Mangala thx for your comments.Let me know if you tried my version.

  3. Nice recipe. After knowing the health benefits of Bitter gourd i have starting loving it. Bitter gourd is rich in vitamin A, B1, B2 and c and contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.